Bloom in adversity

She harboured one dream to excel in studies and lend a helping hand at home.

When I read the other day about Mumbai girl Prema Jayakumar topping the CA exams in India, I felt truly happy and quietly saluted her achievement. However, unlike some others, I was not surprised.  I was instantly reminded of another girl from Bangalore.

Ramya, like Prema, hailed from a socially and economically poor background. Her father did odd jobs without regular income while her mother worked as a domestic help in three houses. Ramya’s parents were unlettered and despite their meagre income they were keen to educate their two children.  They lived in a tiny house without even some basic needs. Unlike many other children in cities, Ramya did not grow up with creature comforts or the latest toys and gadgets. Nor did she have the good fortune of eating out in restaurants or holidays in some nice place. Neither music nor dance classes, nor tuitions to gain that extra edge in today’s competitive world.  All that her parents could afford was to send her to a nearby Kannada medium school.

Ramya’s world revolved around home and school. Often when she returned from school she had to wait out with her brother until her mother got back from work. Then it was helping her weary mother with household chores, her younger brother with his studies and finally catching up with her books before calling it a day.

Day after day, year after year, Ramya’s life was a mundane, predictable one. Yet she never complained, never compared her lot with some of her more fortunate school mates. She harboured one dream - to excel in her studies and lend a helping hand at home.

Right through schooling Ramya did pretty well to be among the top ten in her class.  When the tenth board exam results were announced, Ramya surprised everyone by topping her school scoring an impressive 95 per cent.  No mean achievement considering she couldn’t afford tuitions, guides or even a little guidance from her parents. Aiming to be a chartered accountant, she opted for commerce in a college where the medium of instruction was English. That was four years ago. Today Ramya is in her final year of college and raring to pursue the CA exams.

Indeed, if Prema, the daughter of an auto-rickshaw driver can top the CA exams, so can Ramya, perhaps. These may not have the best of everything and yet in the face of many odds they remain focused and undaunted in the pursuit of their goal. And whoever said an auto-rickshaw driver or a maid or perhaps a vegetable vendor cannot inspire their offspring?  Indeed, just looking at their parents slaving day in and day out invigorates some children to toil harder, and nurture a burning desire to give out their best.  The parents may be illiterate, their incomes may be small but the fruit of their labour is for a better tomorrow, and not so much for themselves but for their children.
And it is these children, like the flowers that bloom in adversity, are the rarest and most beautiful of all. Perhaps, the Bard should have the last word: ‘Sweet are the uses of adversity.’

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